Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Jessica Varnum

Senior Research Associate & Project Manager, Adjunct Professor

Jessica C. Varnum is Senior Research Associate, Project Manager, and Adjunct Professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). Varnum manages all of CNS's work for the Nuclear Threat Initiative website, including extensive research databases on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems, educational resources, country profiles, and issue briefs. She also contributes research to a number of CNS projects, focusing particularly on Turkey, and the role of U.S./NATO extended deterrence commitments in Turkish national security policies. Varnum's book chapter, "Turkey in Transition: Toward or Away from Nuclear Weapons?" appears in Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century: A Comparative Perspective, an edited volume from Stanford University Press (2010).

Varnum frequently presents her research at conferences and guest lectures, and is a participant in the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation, a collaborative project between CNS and Georgia Tech to promote international scholarship on issues of strategic stability under deeply reduced or eliminated nuclear arsenals. She received a UC IGCC Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Summer Seminar Fellowship (2008), and the award for "Most Outstanding Paper" at the 2007 Women in International Security Summer Symposium in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in The Nonproliferation Review and The International Herald Tribune.

Varnum has worked at CNS since 2006. She previously interned for the Center for Strategic and International Studies through the support of the Anne Armstrong Leadership Award, at the Atlantic Council of the United States, and with U.S. Senators Susan M. Collins and Olympia J. Snowe.

Link to full CNS bio


Nuclear nonproliferation; Turkey (including Turkish national security and nuclear policies, Turkish foreign policies, and Turkish domestic politics); NATO and extended deterrence; peaceful nuclear trade and cooperation; the responsible expansion of nuclear power; and the science and technology of nuclear policymaking (including the role of science advisors in the policy process and the scientific and technical underpinnings of nuclear policy challenges).


Varnum earned an M.A. in International Policy Studies with a certificate in Nonproliferation Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and graduated summa cum laude from Colby College with a B.A. in government and international studies. She is proficient in French.

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